Spy Films

The Funny Side of British Espionage

This week I finally got to see the new comedy, Spy, an amusing espionage romp through Europe starring Melissa McCarthy as Susan Cooper. A modest yet top-notch CIA analyst, Susan transforms into a surprisingly adept field agent. Her first mission is to save the world from a rogue nuclear device currently for sale to the highest bidder.

Normally, I would have waited until this film made it to DVD; however, I felt I must show my monetary and emotional support for an actress primarily known and loved in this country as Chummy. You’ve got it. Appearing in her first Hollywood film role, Miranda Hart plays Nancy Artingstall, McCarthy’s fellow intelligence analyst and best friend. And contrary to my initial concerns, Hart gets quite a substantial amount of screen time.

If you don’t know or care about Miranda Hart (shame on you!) there are a few other Brits of interest in this rather uproarious spy adventure. Jude Law plays Agent Bradley Fine, Susan’s suave AMERICAN partner who soaks in her adoration, but never takes her affection seriously. Jason Statham is Agent Rick Ford, a loose cannon with a hilarious tendency of exaggerating his spy prowess. Probably best of all is Peter Serafinowicz as lecherous Italian informant Aldo who takes a bit too much of a liking to Ms. Cooper. He’s full of surprises as Aldo.

Anyhow, this movie got me thinking about spy comedy as a genre. I daresay it’s sort of ironic when you consider that one of the tensest and most suspenseful categories in drama has spawned so many parodies. In turn, these spoofs have given us some of the most memorable characters in film and on TV from Austin Powers to Maxwell Smart.